The Coast Guard has responded to an average of nearly one marine accident per day since the start of the commercial Dungeness crab season.
Since the season started Jan. 15, the agency has responded to 28 accidents, according to a press release. The accidents typically have involved issues like loss of propulsion, steering or power; small fires and collisions; grounding and injuries to fishers. No serious injuries or fatalities have been reported.
“Most reported incidents are a result of equipment failures on vessels which are not ready for operation, poor maintenance and negligent operations while underway,” said Lt. Michael Tappan, chief of investigations division with the Marine Safety Unit Portland. “These accidents endanger the crews onboard each of these commercial fishing vessels, other nearby vessels, and Coast Guard search and rescue personnel.”
One incident involved a vessel that grounded near the mouth of the Columbia River. The grounding resulted from a failure to properly look out for higher ground, according to the Coast Guard. The operator was fined $5,250.
The crab season was delayed more than six weeks this season. Low meat yields and prices negotiations pushed the start date back from Dec. 1.
The Coast Guard offers voluntary vessel exams and provides scheduled hands-on courses for fishing vessel crews. More information on fishing vessel examinations can be found by emailing Fvsportland@uscg.dhs.gov.